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The Amityville Horror Trilogy - Blu-ray Review

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Amityville Horror Tragedy - Blu-ray Review

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We've been told to get out already.  Allow me, then, to be the first to welcome you back to 112 Ocean Avenue.

Scream Factory’s release of all three original Amityville films is, unquestionably, a must-own for any fan of horror.  Based on a supposed true haunting, the series claims the haunted house setting quite well, then attempts to cash in on the whole phenomenon of the original film with a low budget sequel, and then the 3-D movement with the final “official” franchise film.  The quality of the films dip as the series continues but there are some serious solid scares happening in each one of the Dino De Laurentiis-produced to make those sequels worth the extended haunting.

Directed by Stuart Rosenberg, 1979’s The Amityville Horror – starring James Brolin, Margot Kidder and Rod Steiger – is one of the most terrifying films to ever see the light of day.  It is about a young family who buys a house for a very low price that’s almost too good to be true.  Of course, there are strings attached; the house has a violent history.  Not too long after they move in, strange and terrifying things start happening to the children and the priest who arrives to bless the new house.  The couple discovers a secret room underneath the house and soon learns what is really going on as the father descends into a madness that makes him turn on his family.

Amityville II: The Possession, originally released in 1982, stars James Olson, Burt Young, Rutanya Alda, Andrew Prine, Jack Magner and Diane Franklin. It is about another family who buys the Amityville house and - as soon as they move in – bizarre things start to happen.  While designed to be the prequel to the original film, The Possession changes the names of the original family and shakes things up with a foul-looking monster of sorts that possesses the teenage son, causing him to have sex with his sister and terrorize the other family members.

Amityville 3-D, originally released at the height of the 3-D craze, stars Tony Roberts, Tess Harper and Candy Clark  This time a journalist buys the Amityville house to try and discredit the reputation of the house being evil and to also to write a new book on the house. Not long after the journalist arrives, a well – full of water – is discovered in the basement of the house and terrifying things start to happen once again…in 3-D.

Pay close attention to The Possession, though.  Ignore the acting and pay attention to the filming techniques utilized.  There are some seriously strong POV shots that will scare the crap out of you.  Director Damiano Damiani, an Italian screenwriter, film director, actor and writer, and his crew were seriously brewing some strong mojo for some of the shots achieved in the film.  Craziness ensues as our demon gets a lot of great sneak-up moments courtesy of a handheld camera and a gymnast camera operator.  We mostly have to forgive the third film.  It's largely inferior to the others and has huge gaps of logic in it.

Blood drips from the walls. A terrifying chill permeates through the rooms. Menacing eyes glow from the upstairs window and inside this charming Long Island home, an unspeakable evil lurks the halls, waiting to torment all who dare enter. Experience the ultimate in haunted house films…and delve deeper into the history of the films with vintage special features and all-new special features created for this deluxe collector’s set.

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Amityville Horror Tragedy - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Experience
3 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

All three movies really show their age with several moments of softness and poor resolution. White specks and very minor scratches clutter a majority of the images, and contrast is pretty bland (especially in the third film), making the 1.85:1 image appear flat and somewhat dull.  The AVC-encoded transfer does show strong colors; bold and cleanly rendered.  Black levels are strong and accurate for the most part, and a nice, thin layer of grain is consistent. The video transfers are as sharp and detailed as film of this vintage could be with close-ups looking particularly excellent and revealing.  Shout! continues their usual ritual with another selection of 5.1 surround sound or 2.0 mono for each movie.  While neither is horrible, the upgrade choice is always the cleanest.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • For the first film, Dr. Hans Holzer, expert in parapsychology and author of Murder in Amityville, shares his thoughts and expertise on the history of the family, the house, and the movie itself.  For the second release, Alexandra Holzer, professional ghost hunter, author of Growing up Haunted: A Ghostly Memoir and daughter of Dr. Hans Holzer, provides the commentary track.  The third one, coming in last, gets nothing.

Special Features:

Does it ultimately even matter if 112 Ocean Avenue in the town of Amityville on Long Island was really haunted, as its residents, the Lutz Family, insisted?   We don’t think so, not with these supplemental items.  Fans should rejoice.  Along with a hefty amount of bonus features, Shout! Factory brings the The Amityville Horror Trilogy to Blu-ray as a three-disc box set under the distributor's Scream Factory line. All three Region A locked, BD50 discs are housed in individual blue cases inside a rather flimsy cardboard box.

The Amityville Horror

•New interview - Haunted Melodies with Composer Lalo Schifrin

•"For God's Sake, Get Out!" Documentary with actors James Brolin and Margot Kidder

•Audio Commentary by Dr. Hans Holzer, PH.D. in Parapsychology (author of MURDER IN AMITYVILLE)

•Original Theatrical Trailer

•TV Spot

•Radio Spots

Amityville II: The Possession

•The Posession of Damiani - Interview with Director Damiano Damiani

•Adapting Amityville – New Interview with Screenwriter Tommy Lee Wallace

•Family Matters – New Interview with Actress Diane Franklin

•A Mother’s Burden – New Interview with Actress Rutanya Alda

•Father Tom’s Memories – New Interview with Actor Andrew Prine

•New Interview with ghost hunter/author Alexandra Holzer (GROWING UP HAUNTED: A GHOSTLY MEMOIR)

•New Audio Commentary with ghost hunter/author Alexandra Holzer (GROWING UP HAUNTED: A GHOSTLY MEMOIR)

•Original Theatrical Trailer

Amityville 3-D

•2D and Blu-ray 3D presentation of the film for the first time!

•A Chilly Reception – New Interview with Actress Candy Clark

•Original Theatrical Trailer

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